Full Reading: Ephesians 1
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace,
Paul is teaching soteriology here. Many have a bad taste in their mouths for theology, and particularly soteriology. If you’re unfamiliar, soteriology is, literally, the study of salvation. It is concerned with how we are saved. One may say, “we are saved through the Gospel”, and you would be correct, but this is incomplete. Soteriology is concerned with the theological details behind the Gospel. It is at this point that many will say something like, “well I don’t need theology” or “I just need the Gospel”. “I just need the Gospel” is true if you hate God. It is true if you do not believe the Gospel. But the second you have it, the moment you believe the Gospel, you need so much more.
I’m not saying you need works. Your faith will produce those naturally, which will talk about shortly. I am saying that if you believe the Gospel, it is because God has given you a new heart that wants to know Him. God has given you a heart that hungers for fellowship with Him. As Jesus told the Devil, “Man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.” Every. Word. This includes Ephesians 1:3-14, where the primary concern is soteriology. I’m not pulling this from a systematic theology text. It’s right here, from the pen of Paul the Apostle.
In Christ, we have redemption through his blood. You are saved through the blood of Christ. On the cross, God poured out His wrath on Jesus. Jesus blood was shed. The author of Hebrews writes in 9:22, “without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.” Jesus blood was shed so that sins would be forgiven. There is an important word that doesn’t show up in this letter, but it is wrapped up in this shedding of blood. Propitiation. This is the satisfaction of wrath, namely, God’s. God’s wrath against sin is satisfied through the shedding of Christ’s blood. God’s wrath is really and truly satisfied against every sin for which Christ died. This is why Paul can say “there is no condemnation in Christ”. Condemnation brings God’s wrath, and Christ has satisfied God’s wrath, ergo, there is no condemnation in Christ. I cannot not teach this because it is right here in the text. Redemption is through the blood of Jesus. If the blood of Jesus was shed for you, you are saved. Period. No two ways about it, because God’s wrath is satisfied against your sin because Christ took it upon himself. How do you know if this is the case for you? You believe on Christ. You have faith in Christ. Paul teaches in Romans 3:25 that this propitiation by Christ’s shed blood is received through faith. If you believe in the finished work of Christ, Christ died for you on the cross.
Through the work of Christ there is forgiveness of sins. All sins, for all time. If you are saved then nothing can separate you from the love that is in Christ. Nothing can separate you from the special, particular, saving love of Christ. If you are in Christ, God has forgiven all of sins, even those future sins. “Should we sin that grace may abound? By no means!” cries the apostle Paul in Romans 6. Your sin has been covered by the blood of Christ and forgiven by God’s grace, but this is by no means a license to sin. The warnings of the apostle James are grave indeed. Faith without the works the proceed from a born again life is no faith at all. Paul will go on to teach in Ephesians 2:10 that the good works of His people have already been prepared. If you are one of God’s children, God has already prepared all of your good works for you, and He will walk you through them.
If you;re getting bored of reading Ephesians 1 over and over, read Ephesians 2. Or 3. Or read the whole book for a change. I want you to write the words of this letter on your heart.